Our next “Face of Hunger Relief” has been a longtime supporter of the Arkansas Foodbank and the work that we do: Philip Tappan.
Those around central Arkansas are familiar with his burger and shake restaurants, The Purple Cow. But what many may not realize is Tappan has been a leader in hunger relief in our state spanning four decades.
He first became familiar with the work of the Arkansas Foodbank in the late 80’s as CEO for food distributor, Quality Foods. Back then, the Foodbank was operating out of a quality foods warehouse. Over time, our operations grew into a larger facility and Tappan became more involved with the Foodbank’s mission by becoming a board member in the late 1990s.
Continuing his service on the board to this day, he has played a major role in spreading the word about the Foodbank. He focuses not only on its work, but also creating awareness on the issue of hunger in our state.
“I grew up in east Arkansas in Helena and have seen the communities in our state that are challenged and need a hand up. I have also been in the food business for years with companies that have made an effort to help people out along the way,” says Tappan. “Both have given me an emotional tie to hunger relief.”
His tie to hunger relief was strongest during the Foodbank’s capital campaign with the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. Tappan served as chair for the Arkansas Foodbank’s Campaign Leadership Committee. Not only did he pledge a contribution himself, he helped encourage others to do the same.
Mr. Tappan saw the need in our community and understood what hunger meant to Arkansas’ economy. In an op-ed article he wrote for Arkansas Business in 2010, Philip Tappan stated “The broad base of support from community businesses, organizations and individuals - Arkansans helping Arkansans - leads to a healthier, more robust and economically stable populace. And that's a win for all Arkansans.”
With his help, the Arkansas Foodbank is now operating out of a 73,000 square foot warehouse in Little Rock. The Donald W. Reynold’s Distribution center is on track to double its distribution total from 2011 (13 million pounds) by 2016. The Foodbank is also handing out more fresh produce than ever before, almost 5 million pounds in 2013. That effort is something Tappan is very proud of.
“Access to adequate, nutritional food is one of the necessities of life,” Tappan said in the article.
The Arkansas Foodbank is forever grateful to Philip Tappan and all he has done to help us create a community where no one has to go hungry. His leadership and passion toward our mission is a big part of why we are the cornerstone of hunger relief that we are today.